Kupwara, Oct 12: North Kashmir’s Kupwara district is witnessing a surge in tourist footfall, yet one of its prized assets, the guest house at Khumriyal, remains in a state of neglect, turning away potential visitors.
The guest house, under the guardianship of the Lolab Bungus Drangyari Development Authority (LBDDA), stands as a testament to the district’s tourism potential. Unfortunately, it has been left unattended.
The tourism enthusiasts and locals expressed their concerns about this deteriorating situation of the Guest House.
They said there is a peak in the arrival of visitors from various parts of the country but poor infrastructure forces them to shorten their stay.
As the snow season is approaching, the inadequate infrastructure, especially at offbeat destinations like Khumriyal, remains a significant challenge, said Shahid, a local involved in tourism activities. He stressed the urgency of restoring vital assets like the guest house at Khumriyal.
Shahid revealed that funds amounting to Rs 10 lakh were allocated for the repair and renovation of the guest house this fiscal year. Unfortunately, delays caused by the reorganisation of engineering wings have prolonged the process, disappointing many stakeholders, he said.
However, Shahid remained optimistic, putting his faith in the capable hands of the CEO of LBDDA. He urged the CEO to take swift action to restore the guest house’s former glory.
Locals recalled the recent visit of Lieutenant Governor Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, during which he pledged the administration’s commitment to bolstering infrastructure to attract tourists and elevate the district’s status in the tourism sector. The assurance came during the Bungus Mela, where the LG emphasised the importance of bringing the border district on the tourism map.
Despite the presence of other guest houses like Reshwari, Drangyari, Lalpora, and Chandigam, some of which have been in use, they too suffer from neglect. Tourism advocates have urged authorities to address these issues promptly to help attract more visitors.
The Lieutenant Governor in his address at Boys Higher Secondary Ground here recently said that Kupwara has witnessed a record number of tourists from 6,000 in 2019 to over 3,00,000 this year.
However, those associated with tourism have urged the administration to immediately repair the neglected guest houses so that every visitor experiences the “true beauty” of the region.